Muslims today are divided like anything. Such divisions are not endorsed by Islam which believes in fostering unity among its followers. The Glorious Quran says, “And hold fast, all together by the rope which Allah (stretches out for you) and be not divided among yourselves” [ Al-Quran 3: 103]. The Quran is the rope of Allah which all Muslims should hold fast together.
It is prohibited to make sects and divisions in Islam. One should disassociate oneself from those who divide their religion and break it up into sects. But when one asks a Muslim “who are you?”, the common answer is either: “I am a Hanafi or Shafi or Maliki or Hambali” (which is simply an illusion). Our Prophet (SAW) was a Muslim. One may ask such Muslims who believe in sectism, “Who was our beloved Prophet (SAW)? Was he a Hanafi or a Shafi, or a Maliki?” No! He was a Muslim like all the other Prophets and messengers of Allah before Him.
Quran says call yourselves Muslim. If anyone poses a Muslim the question who are you, he should say “ I am a Muslim not a Hanafi or Shafi” because Islam believe in unity among its followers.
We must respect all the great scholars of Islam, including four Imams: Imam Abu Hanafi, Imam Shafi, Imam Hambal, Imam Malik. One can have no objection if someone agrees with the views and research of Imam Abu Hanafi or Imam Shafi. All the four great Imams said if any of their fatwas or teachings contradict Allah’s word , that is, the authentic Hadith, then that particular Fatwa of theirs should be rejected and the Sunnah of the Prophet (SWT) should be followed.
I personally have no objection if someone calls himself a Hanafi, Shafi, Hambali, Maliki. People give different labels to themselves to identify with a given set of teaching they prefer to follow and to disassociate themselves from those people who follow wrong practices. From history, we come to know that all the labels given to different groups themselves did not follow their teaching and made new sub divisions.
But as far as giving a label to what a person practices in Islam is concerned, there cannot be better one than what Allah has given that is, a Muslim.
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